Lakes High coach Dave Miller scheduled a gauntlet of tough non-league opponents this season for a reason.
He wanted his team to be battle tested and mentally strong when Class 3A league play rolls around.
But the program used to blowing opponents out early in the season took one on the chin in the season opener Friday night, losing to Class 4A power Woodinville, 31-24 in overtime, at Harry Lang Stadium.
“We’ll get more out of this game than any game we won by 50 points,” Miller said.
Despite turning the ball over seven times and being held to 113 yards rushing, the fourth-ranked Lancers still had a chance to pull out the victory.
After taking a 24-21 lead on Kevin Thompson’s 4-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal and a successful two-point conversion with just under nine minutes remaining, Lakes held the Falcons at bay until the final two minutes.
Woodinville’s Connor Zaback kicked a 39-yard field goal with 1:02 left to tie the game at 24.
“I thought our kids in the first half kind of showed their inexperience, and in the second half, I though they grew up a little bit and started playing a little tougher,” Miller said. “In overtime, they just kind of ran out of gas a little bit. But we were one play away from winning. They don’t make that field goal; we take a knee and win the game. I think this game will make us a lot better.”
Woodinville’s Wyatt Smith – who rushed for 159 yards on 18 carries – scored on a 10-yard run on the opening drive of overtime, and Alek Kacmarcik picked off Rhys Gervais’ pass on second down of Lakes’ ensuing possession.
Gervais, a transfer from Puyallup, had flashes of solid play but was picked off five times — more interceptions than he threw last year.
“They weren’t really giving us the big play,” Gervais said. “We kind of had to try and dink-and-dunk down the field. We were looking for the big play a little bit, and a few of my turnovers came from that. We have to improve; I have to improve.”
Lakes had to play catch-up most of the night. Tied at 7, the Falcons took the lead on Smith’s 4-yard touchdown run with 11:54 left in the first half. Lakes tried to answer, but cornerback Caleb Hamilton picked off Gervais’ pass in the flat and bolted 47 yards for a touchdown, pushing the Lakes deficit to 14.
The Lancers made it 21-14 on a 4-yard touchdown run by Dominic Milton with 1:29 left in the half.